2005-04-14 - Learning to Love
Originally Published 2000-07-22
I have been praying that God would show me how He wants me to love others, praying that I would be clean so that He can love others through me. On my own, I am really incapable of truly loving anyone. Remember the little phrase "be careful what you ask for?" As long as I can remember, I have lived with alcoholics. My father is an alcoholic, and my first husband was, as well. I remember after one particular episode, when I was about 11 years old, thinking that I would never drink - because I never wanted to be so out of control. The best description I ever heard of what it is like living with an alcoholic is to "live like you're walking on eggshells." You never know when one is going to crack, and you are going to be the recipient of someone's drunken wrath. It changes your perception of things, and can really distort reality.
The Lord says that "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things are passed away, behold, they are become new" 2 Cor. 5:17. That truth can be a reality for both the one who has lived with an alcoholic and those who are alcoholics. We are not bound by our past.
John 8:36 "If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
I have to remind myself of that sometimes. Remember, I told you in the beginning that I have been praying that God would help me to love others. I have to be honest in telling you that whenever I am around someone I suspect is an alcoholic, it does something to my stomach. I want to turn and run - not walk - away. Our church does witnessing at a local carnival. One night, I decided to walk around with some teens who were witnessing to people there. One young man began to share with a middle-aged man who was leaning against a food stand. I realized, when he started talking, that the middle-aged man had been drinking. He got loud with the young man, and in no uncertain terms told him to keep his religion to himself.
The young man handled it well. He simply said "Okay, I will leave you alone," and walked away. I, on the other hand, wanted to deck the guy for being so mean to the young man. I walked back to the tent, and no sooner got there, then another man who had been in church a few times after he had been drinking was right there with a woman who was not his wife. I looked at my watch, and I mentioned to Rick that it was 10 p.m. and we should leave. I did not know how to deal with it.
I talked to Rick later about how I felt. Then it dawned on me that I had been praying that God would show me how to love others. This one is tough, because the hurt still runs kind of deep.
What is the best thing that can happen to an alcoholic? The best thing that can happen to anyone he or she meets Jesus. The same God who loves me, loves those who abuse alcohol and others. But for now, I was the one who needed to repent. I am praying God will help me to remove my preconceptions, and help me to see people as He sees all of us - sinners in need of a Savior.
"...But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved)." Ephesians 2:4,5
In His Service,